Mother on trial for deaths of 2 babies says she blacked out
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina mother on trial for placing two of her newborns in trash bags and throwing them away about a year apart told investigators she blacked out from the pain of delivering the second child alone, waking up 15 minutes later and finding the boy’s face blue.
Alyssa Dayvault did not show up for her trial this week on two counts of homicide by child abuse, but the case is moving forward at the Horry County courthouse with her lawyers putting on a defense.
Prosecutors on Wednesday played a recording of Dayvault’s interview with police who were called after Dayvault showed up at the hospital with an infection caused when she did not deliver the placenta along with the baby boy in December 2018.
Dayvault told investigators in the recording she hid the pregnancy from both her longtime boyfriend and her mother. She said she delivered the baby alone in her North Myrtle Beach home. And after passing out from the pain and discovering the unconscious baby, she put him in a trash bag and threw him away, the recording showed.
Dayvault also told investigators this had happened before. In November 2017, she said, she also gave birth alone, this time to a girl, and threw her body away after the baby had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, the court heard. She hid the pregnancy that time too, and there were no complications so no one knew. She did not go into details about that birth in the body camera video, which was shown Wednesday during the first day of testimony.
Dayvault first denied having a baby when she was questioned, but as investigators pressed her, she started crying in the video.
They asked her why she threw the babies away and she started crying.
“Ï wasn’t thinking. I wasn’t. I was too scared,” said Dayvault, barely understandable through her tears.
“This isn’t a murder trial,” prosecutor Josh Holford said in his opening statement Wednesday. “We don’t have enough evidence to prove the defendant intentionally killed her babies. We are not saying she intentionally suffocated her babies.”
Instead, Holford said, prosecutors would prove Dayvault showed “extreme indifference for human life” because she sought no care from anyone for her newborns.
“She didn’t drop that baby girl off at the fire station. She didn’t put the baby girl up for adoption. She didn’t ask her mother to take care of the baby girl. She simply threw this baby out with the trash,” Holford said.
Public defender Sharde Crawford told jurors she doesn’t think prosecutors can show Dayvault didn’t care about the babies at all.
Crawford said there would be several unanswered questions when testimony was finished, including “what evidence has the state shown that will prove to you the cause of death?”
Court ended early Wednesday because the prosecution’s final witness was a doctor who was seeing patients and couldn’t get to court until Thursday.
The judge suggested the jury could get the case before the end of the day Thursday.
Dayvault faces up to life in prison if convicted. She was out on bond and has not been to court this week, from jury selection Monday to the first day of testimony Wednesday. Her lawyers planned a full defense even without here there.
An arrest warrant against her has been issued. If Dayvault is found guilty, the judge will seal her sentence until she is found and brought to court.
The trial was being livestreamed from the Horry County courthouse.
This story is corrected by deleting a reference to Dayvault’s boyfriend not wanting children.
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